Mexicans made the case for Mexico on Tuesday at the New York Stock Exchange, where the country’s ambassador to the United States and a former central banker now running Banorte along with other officials gathered to discuss trade relations, the drug wars and the upcoming presidential election.
This was the second time that Mexican chief executives and government officials rang the opening bell for Mexico Day at the NYSE. Tuesday’s event promoted the 17 Mexican companies that NYSE Euronext currently lists, comprising a total global market capitalization of about $202 billion.
“Mexico is a profitable country for foreign investors,” said José Zozaya, chairman of the board for American Chamber/Mexico, in comments about his campaign to improve public perceptions of Mexico. “Mexico is a good brand. I never get tired of saying it.”
Mexico’s ambassador to the United States, H.E. Arturo Sarukhan, said during opening remarks that security risks are the biggest issue as border crossings are closely monitored for drugs and illegal immigrants along with the $1 billion in legitimate goods traded on a daily basis.
There is a “complex relationship” between the two countries, the ambassador said, pointing to 6 million undocumented Mexican workers in the United States, 1 million American expatriates (many of them retirees) in Mexico and Mexican oil imports to the U.S. that surpass those of the Middle East. Immigration issues will affect the 2012 presidential election issues in both the United States and Mexico, he said.
“We in Mexico have become the second-largest purchaser of U.S. exports on the face of the Earth,” Sarukhan said. “It behooves Mexico to work with the U.S. to ensure that our borders are secure.”
Zozaya argued that Mexico is the 11th-largest economy in the world, with a 2011 GDP outlook of 4% to 5% that tops the U.S. outlook of 3.2%. Foreign direct investment in Mexico has surpassed $19 billion, and the country has “one of the most open economies in the world,” he said.